Monday, January 30, 2017

Road Safety Charity Condemns Haulage Duo’s 'Lenient' Truck Killer Sentences

Deaths Preventable with Proper Care and Maintenance
Shipping News Feature
UK – Brake, the road safety charity, has condemned the sentencing of two men found guilty of the manslaughter of three men and a little girl as ‘unduly lenient’. In response to Friday’s sentencing at Bath Crown Court of Matthew Gordon to seven years, six months and Peter Wood to five years, three months, both employees of a Wiltshire road haulage company, campaigns director for Brake, said:

“This was a wholly preventable tragedy, a rogue operator running a lorry that was riddled with lethal faults. Their casual disregard for safety led to four deaths. The sentences passed are unduly lenient for the crimes committed.”

Gordon and Wood were found guilty of manslaughter nearly two years after a runaway tipper truck killed four people and injured two others in Bath. The 32-tonne lorry owned by Grittenham Haulage suffered a catastrophic brake failure on a hill and proceeded to hit and kill four-year old Mitzi Steady from Bath as she crossed a road with her grandmother Margaret Rogers, who suffered life-altering injuries.

The HGV, loaded with aggregate, then collided with two cars, killing Stephen Vaughan, 34, Philip Allen, 52 and Robert Parker, 59 and injuring another woman. Phillip Potter, 20, who was the driver of the tipper truck when its brakes failed, was acquitted of all charges against him.

The lorry was described in the trial as ‘an accident waiting to happen’ and the haulage business, owned by Gordon, was described as ‘a shambles from start to finish’.

In sentencing Mr Justice Langstaff told Gordon and Wood they had a ‘cavalier’ attitude to maintaining the company’s vehicles, saying that:

“I accept that neither of you intended death or injury or even brake failure. You did not wish it. But the fact is that a lorry as heavy as this is likely to cause serious injury and death to members of the public unless properly maintained. The brakes are critical. You know this. You knew that being casual about the safety risked the lives of others. Your failures are inexplicable.”